Title: Rushing In
Series: The Blackhawk Boys #2
Author: Lexi Ryan
Release Date: August 30, 2016!
SYNOPSIS:The favor seemed simple: Keep my new stepsister out of trouble for one summer.I’ve never met Grace Lee, but Mom tells me she’s a quiet and artsy college student with a troubled past. When I agreed to let her stay with me, I thought it was no big deal. I expected to share my apartment with a sullen girl who’d spend hours locked in her room.I didn’t expect a walking fantasy determined to make me lose my cool.I didn’t expect a woman with secrets so dark, so deep, I’d throw away everything if it would save her from the past.Rushing in to do this favor is turning my life upside down—and not just because Grace needs her ass spanked. Keep her out of trouble? Grace is the trouble. And I want in.PURCHASE HERE:
I've read several Lexi Ryan books, but none struck as strong a chord with me as Spinning Out did. That book made me a true fan of Lexi Ryan's writing and her story telling and I knew after reading that book, I'd devour every book she ever released from then on. That plan started with the second book in The Blackhawk Boys sports romance series, Rushing In, and it did not disappoint.
As soon as I began reading Rushing In, I was immediately brought back into the world of the Blackhawk boys and I was just as quickly taken by the refreshing dynamic Lexi Ryan created between Christopher Montgomery and Grace Lee. While I love a good taboo romance, I was never a fan of the bandwagon craze where hundreds and hundreds of books with overtly sexual STEPBROTHER emblazoned covers flooded the romance scene. That was such a turn off for me and I avoided all those books like the plague. I much prefer it when a step-sibling romance covertly sneaks up on me like this one did. I appreciate a well developed, layered story that is sexy without being overt, is a bit taboo without feeling over the top and that's exactly what Rushing In delivered. There's a whole lot of heavy, hard-to-digest content in this book and the fact that Chris and Grace's parents just got married is actually the least difficult of all the obstacles facing these characters. This story is messy and complex and it only grows exponentially more so with each turn of the page.
For the first half of this book, I felt like the emotional component that was so evident in Spinning Out was somewhat absent in Rushing In, despite how much I was thoroughly enjoying the book. I thought maybe Lexi Ryan was simply looking to write a lighter, sexier, more angsty romance between Chris and Grace, changing things up a bit from the seriously heavy, emotionally taxing romance she'd crafted between Mia and Arrow in their book. WRONG. I had no idea how heavy this story would eventually get, how gripped I'd become, how emotional I'd feel. I read practically the entire last 40% of this book with blurry eyes. The barrage of hits to these characters just kept coming... the secrets that would finally come to light, the secondary characters that would cause such strife between them, the heartbreaking relationship between Chris and his father, the demons from the past that just refused to stay there... all of it killed me. Looking back, the pacing of this story was spot on. There was always an undercurrent of something solemn, even in the lighter, fluffier, sexier moments, but it was subtle. Peppered through the sweet romance, through the humorous banter, through the simmering sexual tension were whispers of darker secrets, but they didn't consume the storyline right out of the gate the way they did with Arrow and Mia. In Rushing In, the onslaught comes later, allowing the reader to fall first, taking this romantic ride with these characters before both the characters and the reader are blindsided.
What began as an enjoyable read became an unputdownable, emotional story that wouldn't let me go. I went in liking this storyline and I came away completely in love. I came away addicted. I loved everything about this book. I loved this couple. I loved rooting for the good guy when I typically root for the bad ones. I love the author's writing. I loved how much it hurt, how much it kept hurting right up until the wholly satisfying end. I love this vast ensemble of characters, as maddening as they can all be, and I'm so thirsty for all of their own stories. I love that each installment in this series adds further dimension to this ever changing dynamic, to this world of football and friendship and romance and the heavy emotional current that ties it all together. I love everything about this series and I can not wait for more.
Chris arches a brow and skims his gaze over my body—correction, my dress and Chucks. “You’re gonna go hiking in that?”
I shrug. “It’s not like it’s full-length and gonna get tangled around my legs or anything.”
His gaze drifts down my body again, this time landing on the thigh visible beneath the hem of my dress. “It’s certainly not,” he mumbles, and the way he says it has my cheeks burning and me reaching for my water.
So damn thirsty.
We finish packing up our lunch together, and after we put the cooler back in the car, I grab the park pamphlet out of the front seat. “Come on,” I say, nodding in the direction of the outlook. “It’s my turn to be in charge.”
The park is beautiful, but as soon as we enter the woods and I see the overlook, my breath catches. From here, we have a view of the ravine below and the creek rushing through the bottom. Mossy rock faces make up the ravine walls, and trees protrude from them. It’s possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I head past the overlook and take the stairs down into the ravine. It’s shady back here and feels ten degrees cooler than our picnic table in the sun.
At the bottom of the stairs, the trail splits in three directions, and when I follow the sign with the three, Chris puts his hand on my arm. “Hey, this one has ladders.”
I arch a brow and drop my gaze to my shoes. “I can handle it.”
Something passes over his face I don’t understand, and then he sighs and nods. “Okay, but I’m climbing the ladders behind you. If any creep is going to be looking up your dress today, it’s gonna be me.”
My cheeks heat, and my brain instantly diagrams his words and starts analyzing the nuance of each. Just comedy or more? Stupid brain. “Fair enough.”
He mutters something that sounds like “Dreams really do come true,” but I can’t be sure.
The trail leads down into the ravine and along the creek bed. It’s so much cooler down here, and I love the sound of the creek rock crunching under my feet as we walk along.
By the time we come upon the first ladder, there’s no one else around.
“Ladies first,” he says, gesturing toward the ladder.
“Pervert,” I mutter, but I move forward and begin my climb. The rungs are coated in mud, and when I’m halfway up, one foot slips and suddenly Chris’s hands are there, holding me steady, his hands strong and warm against the backs of my legs.
My breath catches, and I force myself to breathe and find my footing. The feel of his hands against my skin causes something to swirl hot and tight low in my belly.
“Are you okay?” he asks, his voice as thick as the forest beyond the trail.
I’m not okay. I’m afraid to move. Afraid not to move. Trapped by a fear that has nothing to do with a slippery ladder and everything to do with falling.
Then, slowly, his thumbs begin to slide over my skin. His hands inch up my thighs until his fingertips skim the bottom edge of my underwear and slip under to trace the bottom curve of my ass.
I cannot breathe.
I force myself to turn my head and look down at him. His jaw is set tight, a picture of self-control, but when his eyes meet mine, his face relaxes and he shoots me a boyish grin. I attempt my best poker face. “Are you copping a feel, Christopher Montgomery?”
His grin goes wide, putting his dimples on full display. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he says, his Southern accent drawing out his words. “I’m just trying to perform a necessary rescue mission.”
“Do I look like I need rescuing?” I ask. Under the lace edge of my panties, his thumb strokes again, a long, slow motion that makes me want to close my eyes and moan. I resist and hold his gaze.
“Who said you’re the one I’m rescuing? Maybe I’m trying to save myself.” He drops his hands and grabs a hold of the sides of the ladder, then he climbs up behind me so his body is pressed against mine, my back to his front. His mouth hovers above my ear, his breath hot and uneven. “Because I swear if I have to go much longer without touching you, I’m going to implode.”
His lips skim my earlobe, and my eyes float closed. My brain has no room for sight when it’s overloaded with sensations. His lips on my ear. His hard chest against my back. His breath against my neck. “I need to know, Grace.”
I open my eyes and swallow hard. I don’t want to talk. Not right now. I’m too afraid I’ll ruin this moment with my choppy stutter. “What?”
“I need to know . . .” He leans his forehead against my shoulder, and I watch his knuckles turn white as he tightens his grip on the side of the ladder.
On the ground beneath us, someone clears his throat. “You two heading up or down?”
Chris mutters a curse and takes a step down so I have the freedom to move. I scramble up the ladder with him behind me. When we reach the top, I can’t look at him.
“Sorry about that,” he calls to the people below, then he grabs my wrist and pulls me off to the right toward a rocky alcove just off the trail. A wooden sign tells me this is “The Devil’s Ice Box,” and beyond the sign, a thin waterfall drizzles into a pool of crystal-clear water. Chris leads the way, following the rocky edge around to the backside of this semi-secluded space and stopping by the waterfall. I pass him, feigning interest in the rocks and water so I don’t have to meet his eyes. There’s a cavern behind the waterfall, a haven from the falling water.
“I have to know,” Chris says, his words nearly drowned out by the falling water. “Is it just me? Everything I feel when you’re close to me? Tell me you feel it too.”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of emotional romance that sizzles, Lexi enjoys reading, sunshine, a good glass of wine, and rare trips to the beach.
Lexi lives in Indiana with her husband, two children, and neurotic dog. You can find her at her website: lexiryan.com